METAvivor, through a MBC grant from the AVON Foundation, has launched a program called Peer To Peer: METAvivor Training Program For Support Group Leaders to provide training to MBC patients who are interested in becoming Peer Leaders and starting their own support groups. The Peer Leader is the organizer, but also a participant, sharing and receiving like everyone else in the group.
The METAvivor trained, peer-led support program meets in the community rather than in a medical setting. The support group is limited to metastatic breast cancer patients as members and leaders, and is free flowing, allowing everyone to say what they wish on most any topic. The leader’s role is to coordinate logistics, outreach to recruit members, keep in touch with current members, be there for phone calls, rally support when help is needed, connect the group with resources and be at all gatherings. The leader also provides a comfortable setting and varied activities for MBC patients to share advice, encouragement and challenges, and also simply relax and chat with friends who truly understand. Peer to Peer training materials are also available in Spanish.
While the support groups are designed to be independently run, please be aware that along with the training comes an obligation for the peer leader to report back to METAvivor at scheduled intervals for the first two years. This will help improve the training, and learn if the groups have weathered the first storms, such as the death of a member or a leader. The support program members will also be asked to give feedback through brief surveys.
The training is on-line and provides information about how to set up, run and maintain an MBC support group. Those interested in becoming a leader will go through a short interview and, if selected, a short training course. METAvivor also provides a guidebook, membership form, support group flyers and a private Facebook group specifically for METAvivor Trained Peer Support Group Leaders to connect and share information.
The map below shows established P2P Support Groups. If one already exists in your area, you may want to consider joining the existing group. If you still want to start your own group, call the P2P leader in charge of the local group to determine what geographic areas are currently covered and if another group is needed in a nearby location.
Zoom in on your location in the map to see all of the support groups in your area.